When is the Still Wakes the Deep release date? The Chinese Room returns to its horror roots, and this time around, we’re stranded aboard an off-shore oil rig in the middle of the North Sea – and we’re not alone. According to associate art director Laura Dodds, Still Wakes the Deep is what would happen if “Stanley Kubrick lost his mind shooting a documentary aboard an oil rig.” Sold yet? So are we.
Given The Chinese Room’s track record with cult classics like Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Still Wakes the Deep has strong potential to be a sleeper hit horror game – just check out PCGamesN’s own brush with the Gamescom demo in our Still Wakes the Deep preview. If you’ve already blocked out the release date window on your calendar, check out all the latest news, gameplay, and story details right here.
Still Wakes the Deep release date window
Still Wakes the Deep is set to release in early 2024. This release date window was confirmed in the first-look gameplay trailer that debuted during the Xbox Partner Preview.
In a development diary released in October 2023, audio director Daan Hendriks assured that the studio is “working hard towards our beta milestone, which involves us reaching a ‘content complete’ state.”
QA tester Seb Axel also confirmed the team is shifting focus to the console version as they prepare for certification. “We are lucky to have the PC version in a really good spot and have already done plenty of console testing to ensure the experience is working as it should,” Axel says. “We are about to enter the beta period meaning the game is fully playable from beginning to end and all the core systems and features are included.”
Still Wakes the Deep is on Game Pass and Steam. It will also be available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.
Still Wakes the Deep trailers
We got our first glimpse of Still Wakes the Deep during the Xbox Games Showcase back in June 2023. The announcement trailer shows off striking visuals of the Beira D oil rig wreathed in sea mist as the North Sea churns below. We also get a taste of Still Wakes the Deep’s holistic first-person perspective as Caz explores the rig’s interior, navigating blood-streaked corridors, tight ledges, and broken ladders. These snippets of gameplay are accompanied by a haunting performance of a Fath Mo Mhulaid a Bhith Ann, a Gaelic folk song performed by Maggie MacInnes. The trailer culminates in Caz frantically spinning a hatch wheel closed, cut short by an inhuman screech.
The Chinese Room treated us to more moment-to-moment gameplay in a first look during the Xbox Partner Preview. This involves a nail-biting sequence as Caz navigates a collapsing gangway suspended over the ocean to survey the rig’s drill – which appears to have been disabled by a collection of strange tendrils. The trailer cuts to Caz picking his way around a flooded industrial room, squeezing through tight spaces and ducking beneath the water as a voice nearby whimpers and screams. As Caz ventures down a hatch, the owner of the voice slams it shut, plunging him into darkness.
Still Wakes the Deep story
The spooky story game takes place on a North Sea oil rig just off the coast of Scotland. We assume the role of Caz McCleary, a working-class, Glaswegian ex-boxer. As one of the few surviving Beira D rig workers, he must survive the icy waters and the supernatural creature that’s slithered its way on board in order to see his family again. The premise already puts us in mind of Amnesia The Bunker – a fitting comparison, given The Chinese Room’s own history with the series as the studio behind Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.
“There are strong themes related to family woven into the game’s narrative,” audio director Daan Hendriks confirms. Caz has taken up his post at the oil rig as a means of running away from his problems, though it looks like they’re due to catch up to him while he’s busy trying to outrun the supernatural predator on his heels.
Still Wakes the Deep gameplay
Still Wakes the Deep promises to offer more of the gameplay we’ve come to expect from The Chinese Room: a first-person narrative experience with light puzzle solving and plenty of unnerving encounters. There are no weapons or special powers at Caz’s disposal – instead, players must use their “wits and determination” to see the story through to the end.
According to senior marketing executive Marijam Didžgalvytė, The Chinese Room was “inspired by titans like Kubrick, Loach, and Dargento” as well as 1970s advertising and interior design. This well-defined aesthetic goes hand in hand with the fidelity of Unreal Engine 5, which includes real-time lighting and a VFX system that generates the weather effects necessary to fully capture the experience of being trapped in the middle of the North Sea.
Caz’s fight for survival extends across the entirety of the oil rig, from the main deck to the flare stack and derrick. “We included many scenes where you return to previous areas… but they’ve changed – either through flooding or destruction,” lead designer Rob McLachlan says, explaining this was initially a cost-cutting measure that backfired. We can expect environments to evolve dramatically as we revisit them, and their destruction might well open new areas to explore in the latter hours of the game.
Of course, the horror extends beyond the claustrophobic spaces of the rig itself. Beyond its industrial walls, the choppy waters of the North Sea continue to rage – but it’s not just moody set dressing. “It’s a deadly obstacle the player may have to navigate and survive,” programmer Joe Wheater says.
We have some idea of just how scary Still Wakes the Deep is likely to get thanks to QA tester Seb Axel. “Even now I get caught out by the occasional scary moment, and I’ve played it hundreds of times. One of our external QA couldn’t deal with it and had to leave the project because they were so scared,” Axel teases. It also suggests that Still Wakes the Deep’s scares won’t be confined to scripted jumpscares. Instead, players may be forced to constantly evade a free-roaming stalker, as seen in Alien Isolation and Amnesia The Bunker.
Now that you’re prepped to take the plunge, check out some of the best indie games to tide you over until the Still Wakes the Deep release date. We’ve also got recommendations for some of the best single-player games across all genres, from oceanic survival games to sci-fi horror.